Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Artist Profile: Chrissie Zullo

Living in neighboring Charlotte, Chrissie Zullo is one of those rare few who has come into the comics scene and gotten the attention of people immediately. Often, top-tier artists like Bryan Hitch and Adam Hughes spend time working on mediocre titles getting no attention- sometimes for years- before finding a breakout title like Ultimates or Wonder Woman. Chrissie took off from the start, creating covers for DC's Vertigo line, specifically the Cinderella series, and the response has been consistently one of praise for her work. Just read what the comics/movie/video game website IGN had to say about her-
"New to the industry, it is awfully high praise to Chrissie Zullo when we say that she fits in just fine with James Jean and Joao Ruas, but after seeing her four covers released so far it's justified."
That's what IGN wrote about her cover for Cinderella- From Fabletown with Love #2 ranking it at #80 among the 100 best covers of 2009. To see the article, copy and paste this address in your browser: http://comics.ign.com/articles/105/1052678p3.html
Chrissie has a very distinctive, eye-catching style that comes partly from the mediums she uses to create her images. Often, Chrissie paints in oils on a wood panel to get the initial image. She then scans the picture into her computer and adds additional colors and effects using Photoshop.
The covers displayed with this article include Cinderella #2 with Cinderella and the prince standing back-to-back, and the other cover is issue #3 and draws some inspiration from ol' James Bond.
Below is our interview with Chrissie- enjoy!

1. How long have you been creating art? How long have you been doing comic book covers?
I have been drawing and being creative ever since I was a baby. I was always drawing as a kid, and from a really early age I was always the "artist" in my classes. I've been doing comic book covers and comic book art for about a year now.

2. Have you done or do you plan to do any interior work on a comic?
I am actually just about to start. I'll be doing 22 interior pages for an upcoming issue of Madame Xanadu, that I'm really excited about.

3. How did you get "discovered?"
I entered the DC Talent Search at San Diego Comic Con and got to meet with an editor from Vertigo... and the rest is history.

4. Were you into comics as a child? Did you have a favorite comic book character? Cartoon character? How about now?
As a kid, I was into Sunday comics and in High School I was into manga. It wasn't until college that I started to read DC/Marvel comics. It's hard to pick a favorite comic book character, but I do love Zatanna and lots of other characters from the Batman universe, as well as Ambrose and lots of characters from the Fables universe (as well as, of course, Cinderella). As for cartoon character, as I kid I always loved Hanna-Barbera cartoons and Disney cartoons, and now I love Miyazaki animated films.

5. Comics seem to be an almost exclusive boys club. What would you do to change this ?
I think it's perceived that way because the majority of American comics deals with a masculine super hero. A lot of girls today read manga, and I think it's less intimidating, because a lot of manga deals with a variety of stories that are stand alone in one series. Even when I was getting into comics, it can be intimidating if you aren't familiar with the very long history of x or y characters. I think the way to change this is something that Vertigo or other more independent publishers are addressing already with comics, and that's by telling new stories to catch new readers. I know "Fables" has a loyal male and female following. I don't think it's a matter of creating something that addresses more to girls, but creating something that appeals to everyone.

6. What is a typical workday like for you?
Very atypical... Every day is different. I really need to find out how to properly schedule things. It's weird working from home as a freelancer, because you make your own schedule. I just address each day individually, and try to get the most done of whatever project I'm working on. This usually means staying up late, painting or drawing, with lots of tea and lots of music.

7. What is your dream comic assignment? Is there a comic you would refuse to do?
My dream comic assignment would be to create my own comic book, otherwise, everything I have worked on so far has really been a dream come true. All the comics I've been able to be a part of have been favorites, so even if it's cheezy to say, each project I get really brings the fangirl out of me. As far as "refusing" to do a comic; I'm not sure if I would ever "refuse", but if it is something that I don't think will really match my style of work, than I wouldn't do it.

8. What has been your best convention moment? Worst? Weirdest?
My best convention moment was probably being on the Fables panel at San Diego Comic Con, or signing at the DC booth. It's incredibly humbling and awesome to sit right next to people whom you look up to and admire, so I really tried to let nerves go and soak it all in while it lasted. As for worst-- I did drive out and stay out of town for a three day convention that had almost no attendees; I think a total of three people walked by and talked to me at that show, and one of them was another exhibitor. As far as weirdest-- I'm not sure, but every convention is likely to have a weird moment...

9. What other appearances will you be making?
I'm going to San Diego Comic Con this year as well, and trying to also get to NYCC, Baltimore Comic Con, Dragon Con, and Star Wars Celebration V.

10. What thing do you love to do to get a break from comics?
I'm a huge LEGO fanatic, and love video games and going to movies. I also read a lot of books, you know, the ones without pictures, and I try to spend a couple of hours every night reading some good sci-fi.

You can also follow Chrissie's work on her Deviant art site, chrissie-zullo.deviantart.com and you can see her works in progress on her blog, chrissiez.blogspot.com.

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